For starters, I must say that parents are selfless. I don’t care how old you are, whether you’re reading this at age 13 or age 63. At any age, it is important to understand and know that your parents are selfless individuals who go above and beyond for you. They are your biggest supporter and fan. They are your ear, ready to listen to you. At the end of the day, they will always be there for you, ready to make you smile, ready to wipe away the tears and ready to motivate you to achieve greatness in everything you do.
I’ve gone back and forth about sharing this post. It’s personal. It’s raw. It’s real. While this letter to my mom started off as my personal grieving mechanism, there’s a much larger meaning behind my personal encounter that I hope I can offer a new perspective on love and life for my readers. If you can take anything away from this message, it would be to:
– Make time for your health – physical and mental because this is the only life you have. Life is too precious to come up with reasons for not taking care of yourself. Get regular checkups, keep your mind and body active and most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you’re a parent, don’t focus on just the health of your family. Because your family needs your love, support and strength. Without it, they can be broken and weak. Trust me.
– Appreciate your family and friends, and make sure you never take their love for granted. Call your parents. Call your grandparents. Your aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, step-family members. Call the people in your life who mean the most to you and let them know how much they mean to you. Never forget to say I love you. While their love is unbreakable, it takes losing a parent or a loved one to realize how strong that love was and how much it meant to you. Because when they are gone, all you can do is remember them and cherish the memories. Find ways to honor them and above all else, never stop loving them.
Mom, this one’s for you.
Today would have been your 65th birthday. A birthday year that we anxiously waited to arrive. Why? It was the year you could you said you would go on Social Security. It was the year you could receive MediCare. This was supposed to be YOUR year. It was going to be the year to get a knee replacement and make strides towards a healthier lifestyle. This was the year that I believed would change everything. I believed you when you said things would get better when you turned 65. Now, I wish we never waited so long.
Mom, you died 4 months before your 65th birthday. Why did we wait? Why did we let a number, an age, a year, define who you were and control our actions? Why didn’t I get you in the car and drive you to the doctor? Why didn’t I help pay any expenses? Why didn’t I do more?
I know you’re yelling at me from heaven, telling me that I was supposed to live my life. But it is hard to live my life knowing that today, November 16, 2018, was supposed to be the day that you re-started living yours. It was a date that was supposed to motivate you to try harder, to be more, and to gain control over yourself. Unfortunately, we were years to late. Little did we know it was not just your knees, bad arthritis and depression weighing you down. It was Congestive Heart Failure slowly taking you away from your life, away from this world, away from me.
There were so many things we never got to do before you passed. There were restaurants to try, manicures to get, and shopping trips to have. There were milestones including birthdays, anniversaries, my future engagement, my future wedding, my future kids. All things that are now taken from you and I because we let a birthday and an age control our actions.
There were so many things I wanted to say. The most important ones being thank you and I love you. Thank you for being there for me. I can proudly say that you and dad never let me down and supported all of my dreams and helped me make them reality. You weren’t just my mom. You were my chaperone, my shopping buddy (you endured years at Limited Too), you were my travel companion (alongside dad and the rest of our family). When I had a gluten sensitivity, you were my chef – trying new recipes for me to enjoy and always making sure I never felt left out at basketball team dinners.
Above all, you were an amazing mom. I was raised by two individuals who taught me compassion, love, selflessness and adventure. You dared to explore at a young age. As a young adult, you dreamed big with your career endeavors. Your mind was filled with creativity and your heart was filled with compassion for others and giving back to the community. Most importantly, you loved me with your whole heart, soul and body.
Mom, you don’t know what I would do to have one more birthday with you. I know I am going to say that about every “first” holiday, but especially your birthday, this special birthday I wanted more than you know. Our last birthday celebration was at Melt where we splurged on expensive dinners, pumpkin cheesecake and champagne. We splurged because I wanted you to let your hair down and have an amazing birthday. I wanted you to forget the pain and suffering I knew you felt and feel unconditionally loved. Today, I wish I could give you that and more.
There are so many things I can’t physically give you anymore, but this birthday and every birthday the gift I can give you is to continue living my life and make you unconditionally proud each day. I promise to listen to the words of your favorite song and live by them as if they were your own:
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance”
I will always dance and never lose my sense of wonder. I will always be your little girl, in the watermelon dress, born to run, and ready to take on life.
Happy Birthday, Mama. 65 was supposed to be your year – your year for a new beginning and healthier start. This is not the new beginning I wanted but 65 is now your year for peace. It is the start of a new chapter, a chapter without pain, without suffering and most of all, without any fear for tomorrow. Mom, this is YOUR year. This is your time for a new life in heaven. It was time to let go of your earthly possessions and find peace in a new kingdom. Just know in your heart, that my love for you lives on forever. That my gratitude and everything that you taught me stays with me each day. Know this birthday, and every upcoming birthday, that you are forever loved.
Always your daughter,
One thought on “A Letter to My Mom on Her Birthday”
Kate, I cry and love along with you. Although I came into your mom’s life when we were both adults, her death has hit me hard also. I thought of her as my second sister even though we always lived way too far apart. And she gave me a niece I could watch grow from infancy to adulthood and will continue to watch and love. Her acceptance and love for me even before I married her big brother were warm and unconditional. She helped me with tasks for our wedding even though hers was also coming up in six weeks after ours; she even sewed up her own bridesmaid dress when she should have been concentrating on her own wedding and never even said anything about how much time it took. Grandma, Walt and I went to lunch today and I sent up a little prayer in my mind to her hoping she was watching us as we celebrated the beautiful Florida weather today and our super close family. I love you, Kate, and wish she was still with us so here’s a virtual hug from me to help comfort you. Love, Aunt Gayle (and Uncle Walt, of course)